In a previous article, I introduced you to wellness coaching pioneer Dr. Michael Arloski’s Ten Tenets of Wellness. Because I believe these concepts are so important, I’d like to go beyond that introduction with a deeper dive into each of the ten. Over the next several articles, we’ll look at each tenet, explore it a bit further and hopefully find some practical but powerful things you can do to make that tenet a part of your life.
The First Tenet – Wellness Is Holistic
With our busy lives, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we can just pick one area on which to concentrate and let everything else go. Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not naive enough to think we can all live completely ‘balanced’ lives. Depending on your circumstances and what stage of life you are in, you will likely have to choose where to direct most of your resources in time, energy and even money, for the most return.
As I said before, most people choose a wellness area they think they need to work on and concentrate on that because they believe it’s easiest, or it’s the area that’s bothering them the most or, perhaps, a spouse or friend has given us some ‘friendly’ advice and told us there’s something we need to change. Dr. Arloski frames the first tenet this way: “Wellness is a choice…a decision you make to move toward optimal health.” This means it’s your choice, not what someone else wants for you.
It’s key to recognize that the concept of wellness has to be understood holistically. You have to look at your whole self, as well as whatever approach you are considering. I could compare this to the experience of taking your car into the shop and having the mechanic tell you that you need a new tire. In addition to replacing the tire, the mechanic, because he or she is (hopefully!) looking at your vehicle holistically and as a system, is going to recommend a schedule of regular tire rotations so your tires will wear evenly and last longer.
Embrace A Systems Approach
As an example, if you are going to start a weight loss program, it’s important to look at how the program you are considering is going to affect the rest of your life. Are you going to be getting enough calories for your activity level? Is the diet going to cause you needless stress because it’s complicated and you are constantly having to plan and/or make time consuming meals? How will that affect the rest of your family? Is it going to affect your sleep because you wake up at 2 AM with hunger pangs? Do you have any medical conditions which would make this diet an unwise choice for you? I think you get the picture.
I’m not picking on diets and weight loss programs; the point is to keep in mind that all of us, as human beings, are composed of complex and interrelated systems. What you put in place in one area is absolutely going to have an effect, negative or positive, on every other system; mind, body, spirit and yes, even your environment.
So remember the first tenet, wellness is holistic! Next time, we’ll take a closer look at Tenet Two: Self-Esteem Is Critical.